Friday, March 11, 2011

Maryland House of Delegates Recommits Marriage Bill

Del. Vallario of the Maryland House of Delegates recommitted the Civil Marriage Protection Act back to the Judiciary Committee today.

The move most likely means, according to the early analysis I'm seeing on Facebook and Twitter, that the bill will not come back up for a vote this year; were this to be the case, marriage equality in the state of Maryland would not happen this year.  Gay Politics is saying it's possible supporters of the bill knew they didn't have the votes, and are shelving it until they are confident they can win.

As GetEQUAL tweeted after the news broke, "we have no public record of who's with/against us," as the bill was recommitted on a voice vote.  It will be difficult, then, to hold accountable those who are responsible for this failure.

The state senate had earlier passed the bill by a vote of 25 to 21.  Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has pledged to sign the bill, and even made an appearance with other marriage supporters at the statehouse earlier today.

Today's vote was expected to be a nail-biter, with the Baltimore Sun reporting earlier that "supporters and opponents alike believe the 141-member House is nearly evenly divided. Del. Maggie McIntosh, the senior openly gay legislator, said this week that ‘a healthy handful’ of delegates had yet to disclose their voting plans."

Initially, many had believed that marriage equality would have an easier time in the House than in the Senate, as it is typically the more liberal chamber, but it encountered unexpected difficulties as various delegates, most notably Del. Sam Arora, flip-flopped on the issue just ahead of a committee vote.

An amendment to change the bill to a civil unions bill failed on a voice vote.

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